Welcome back to our “6 questions” series where we ask someone 6 career-centric questions about themselves.
This week we’re chatting with Sabrina Bousbar, Regional Organizing Director at Florida Democratic Party.
What’s your job title and what does a typical day look like for you?
Title: Regional Field Director
Typical day: A typical day I start off with reading over emails around 9 am and of course a cup of coffee! I have my first meeting at 10 am, this is when I meet with my team and go over goals for the day, review any new updates, and go over any questions they may have or need from me throughout the day! After these meetings, I then start working on updating our google folders and working on any assigned projects given to me. I also have various 1:1’s with team members throughout the week and the main thing is always working on what will help the Field Organizers working under me. Their jobs are all about recruiting volunteers, building communities, and getting people out to vote with the end goal of having huge voter turnout for the Democratic Party this November 2020! After a day of working on projects, I end with a check out call with my supervisor on updates and further guidance. Once that call ends I end my day with a team check out call at 7 pm. We all go over how our days went, what we need to work on, and any updates I have for them. After the call I review the numbers they input, respond to any emails, and ensure that everything that needed to be completed that day is completed. I also take the time to finish up any projects and prepare for the next day leading to ending my days around 9:30 pm.
When did you know you wanted to work in a government position and what steps did you take to get where you are today?
The summer of junior year to senior year of High School I was recruited for a program known as Girls State, this is where girls from each county are selected to meet in Tallahassee for a week program of a “mock” government. My parents, immigrants, had always instilled in me the importance of our government and how it is our civic duty. I accepted the opportunity to be a part of Girl State and during my time there I ran for mayor, state senator, and helped co-write legislation. Before attending I was in between wanting to be an architecture or a marine biologist. I was struggling with what I wanted to study or pursue in the future because I was interested in music, math, science, and languages. I found that I had a talent of being able to bring all the different perspectives to mock legislation and that the importance of governing in our country is having different perspectives come together for the benefit of the public. This led me to graduate with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs from Florida State University. During my time at Florida State University, I was involved with Student Government, Interned at Senator Nelson’s Office, and an Intern at the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC. This led me to learn about politics and opportunities on how to continue pursuing the career. When graduation was approaching the democratic presidential primary was a huge conversation in my community. I decided to apply for the field department because mentors of mine encouraged me that it is a department that is challenging but in the long run worthwhile. After many applications, I heard back from a few campaigns and was offered Field Organizer in Iowa and Nevada. One of the campaigns was the Biden for President campaign in Iowa. After much consideration, I accepted the offer with the Biden Campaign. When I was choosing my candidate I knew I had to choose someone I trusted, believed in, and was experienced. Vice President Biden covered this for me but most importantly when I was doing research for his campaign the first policy plans he released was on education, climate change, and foreign policy. All of these made me feel confident in his capability to bring past experience of governing but also listen to the current needs of our government and during this time in the pandemic I believe that more than ever. Being a part of the campaign, I recruited volunteers and ensured that they stayed involved with us till the caucus. This allowed me to build a strong base of volunteers and help achieve goals given to me by the campaign. After Iowa, I traveled to Nevada and South Carolina to work as a field organizer. Once we saw the turn around in South Carolina I received a call to be Regional Organizing Director for the Florida Primary in Miami-Dade County. Since then I have been a Regional virtually in the midwest for Biden and now in Florida with the Florida Democratic Party!
What is the culture like at your company?
The culture is energetic, determined, and positive. This is a group of such passionate workers that believe that change can be made! I think when it comes to working in the field/organizing department it is about having a passion and drive to get to the finish line as the victor. It’s a job that requires a lot out of an individual because time is never on our side with campaigns. There is so much to do in such a constraint amount of time but that doesn’t stop any of us. I think going through this field you create such a close connection with your colleagues because you are all going through the experience of a campaign and the hard work it may require out of you. Most of my co-workers are considered some of my best friends now and I know that these relationships will last a lifetime.
Which has been more valuable in your career, your education or your experience?
My experience, I believe it is important to still receive college-level degrees but I believe that experience is what will always build your character, skill, work ethic, and much more. Through the experiences I have had it has allowed me to continuously grow and be more prepared for higher positions given to me.
How do you make decisions at work? What is your process?
I am very solution-oriented and like to write decision making needs down. I look over it, do research, and write up multiple solutions to the decisions that need to be made. However, there are decisions that need to be made on the spot and may not have much time to be thought about. In those instances, I go with what I think will work best for the team and organizer. Most times I am able to address these issues but I have also learned that it is okay to say you do not know but follow up at a later time when you do know. At the end of the day it’s case by case but always go with what you’ve seen work in the past or what your gut is telling you to do. You should also be willing to listen to your team and what thoughts they may have on the decision you’re making. I believe it’s important to also know the ‘why’ to the decisions you make especially within the field department for campaigns.
Advice for someone wanting a career similar to yours?
Get involved! There are many ways to do so within the campaign realm as a volunteer, fellow, or intern. These are great first steps to get to know staff and also learn the ropes of what it’s like. If you want a job as a field organizer always be checking state party websites and messaging people on LinkedIn about you wanting the opportunity to get involved as a field organizer!
Sabrina Bousbar | @SabrinaBousbar on twitter
Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Political Science with a certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Her involvement through Florida State University included Student Government, Social Justice LLC, Tau Beta Sigma, National College Democrats of America, College of Music, Garnet and Gold Key, and much more. After graduation Sabrina was hired to be a Field Organizer in Iowa for the Biden For President Campaign. She travelled throughout the nation meeting multitudes of communities and organizing them to vote for Sabrina. Within ten months she was promoted to be a Regional Organizing Director where she gained experience in Florida and virtually oversaw six midwestern states. After Biden secured the delegates she was assigned to Florida where she is currently the Regional Organizing Director for Central East Miami-Dade County.